I always knew I wanted to become a physician, but after graduating from the University of Kansas in 2014 with a GPA and MCAT score considered “non-competitive”, I took measures to bolster my resume. With two years of employment, volunteering, shadowing and several medical school interviews under my belt, I ultimately received an envelope from the KU School of Medicine in February 2016. I Skyped my mother and sister so they could witness my life transform in real time. As I peeled back the tri-folded single sheet of paper, my eyes immediately flew to the second sentence: “Unfortunately…” I half-heartedly skimmed the rest of the letter without saying a word. My mother and sister read the shame on my face. I received several more letters just like this one in the following weeks.
Vinu Rao, M1, Class of 2024
from the dust emerged a swirling cyst of layers
tumbling into one another
until the father’s hands enveloped the incomplete.
his fingers laced together tight,
a squeeze away from crushing it all
and starting all over again,
he breathed and knew
he had formed
a seal his children cannot help but break.
the children of god
burned and crushed and uprooted
flowers and trees of Eden
to find what will maim and disfigure
their naked bodies
A central aspect of Med Intima’s mission is to “celebrate the unique, intimate story of each individual.” More specifically, our editorial board hopes this can be a space for important conversation and discovery. To this end, we are featuring the voices and initiatives taking place at KUMC in pursuit of racial equality. Below, you will find educational resources, as well as short narratives highlighting how individuals and organizations are combatting systemic racism, sharing their stories, and improving medical education for Black students.
We hope that by engaging with this page of Med Intima, medical students will be better equipped to serve their communities as future physicians. Please note that this is far from a comprehensive list, and that we hope the resources and narratives we provide below can act as an introduction to a more open dialogue.
Our entire mission statement can be found at: https://medintima.com/about/
Ben Harstine, M3, Class of 2021
I tried to change a patient,
instead they changed me.
I crashed into a brick wall, you see.
Hebron Kelecha, Class of 2021
The United States is the only industrialized nation with a rising maternal mortality rate. These rates are not equally distributed, with Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women being 2-3 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than White women. These alarming rates are not limited to those with lower socioeconomic status but transcend both class and educational level. A study in New York City showed Black women with a college education are more likely to experience life-threatening complications during delivery than a White woman who did not complete high school.
John Price, M4, Class of 2020
The night was young when the radio crackled to life. We couldn’t believe our luck. They told us the search and rescue missions wouldn’t start for another week, but here we had someone that couldn’t continue their hike. Eager to test our skills, we quickly gathered our supplies into the truck ambulance. When I look back on all my clinical experiences, the Philmont rotation outside of Cimarron, New Mexico, is certainly my favorite. Established in 1938 as Philturn Rocky Mountain Scout Camp, Philmont Scout Ranch has become a center for high adventure and training.1 For emergency medical technician students and medical students like me, this site offers a unique clinical training in wilderness and prehospital medicine high up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rockies.1 Below the peaks in basecamp, the Philmont Infirmary is the central hub for this medical four-week sub-internship rotation, and it all began on my first night.
This post was adapted from the University of Washington School of Medicine: https://faculty.uwmedicine.org/55-word-stories/. Likewise, the instructions used to solicit these reflections were adapted from Sheetz, A and Fry, M The Stories, JAMA 2000 Vol 283(15)1934.
Sharing our experiences in health care, especially during intense, emotional, or stressful times increases our connectedness and well-being. Hearing stories from others helps us know we are not alone, and strengthens our community. The authenticity, compassion, creativity, and bravery of our colleagues help us access our own emotions, and helps us carry on.
Miranda Machacek, M4, Class of 2020
I laid my original white coat to rest at a beach in Auckland, New Zealand after my final day of an international clinical rotation. White coat disposal ceremonies are a tradition I must confess I have greatly anticipated. I had grown to resent that coat and what it meant. Its characteristic short length was an immediate signal to any healthcare professional in the hospital that I was a student – perhaps to some savvy patients as well. I frequently felt the weight of the “student” label while walking through the hospital. The real or imagined looks of patients, nurses, residents, and attendings that said I was a temporary time-waster at best and utterly incompetent at worst.
Written by: KUMC School of Medicine
Read on for holiday rituals that include Christmas eve, pajamas, Run DMC, cats, sleepovers, Indian food, Chinese food, and more. Continue reading
Linzy Kirkpatrick, M1, Class of 2023
The iridescent glow of cellophane windows
wraps the building in a blanket of fuchsia and blue,
a playful dance of colors that shift
as I walk past. It’s the first
of many similar days to come.
The corridors whisk me through a
playful maze, a tenuous
barrier between the parents
who wait for news and those of us who